On my birthday in February, we were caught somewhere in the middle of our first of two beta hells. We'd already received the first beta; it was low enough for us to know the "pregnancy" was likely doomed but high enough to warrant a second beta to just to be sure that we weren't giving up too soon. As was the routine for all of my appointments (no matter how small), Chance and Apollo met me at the hospital, this time bearing my birthday gifts.
Chance is not merely an artist, but a true, university-educated artiste, skilled in the ways of crafting something spectacular out of nothing special. She hand-stamped a plain white gift bag with hundreds of hearts in different shades of pink, and painted a solitary word in the corner:
Each gift inside was thoughtfully connected to our experiences together up to that point. Apollo gave me a compilation of short stories by Ernest Hemingway. On the night of our transfer two weeks prior, the two of us had a 2am discussion about authors we enjoyed. He was almost appalled to hear that I'd never read more than two of Hemingway's short stories. Wanting to correct this literary slight, he gifted me with the compilation and bookmarked his favorite story with a note about why it was so. Apollo was right; how I ever managed to overlook Hemingway is beyond me.
Chance gave me pink pajamas (pink is her signature color) and my very own Reproducina, the rainbow farting unicorn.
My Reproducina was a twin to the unicorn that Chance had bought for herself weeks before. We used them for fun here on this blog, as they were a light-hearted representation of all the hope we had for our journey together despite the hardships that had brought Chance and Apollo to surrogacy in the first place. As silly as the unicorns were, Chance's act of purchasing a tangible representation of those hopes was a major step for her. Receiving a unicorn of my own also symbolized the connection between the two of us.
The unicorn made cry, but the gift that really brought me to my knees was the jar. It was a simple jar. What once contained jam, now encapsulates our relationship. Small, hand-punched hearts (also in shades of pink) cover the lid. Inside, there is an assortment of larger hearts, and on each heart Chance wrote a word or phrase that related to my life, her life, and our lives together in our journey.
Some of my favorite things or things that reminded her of me:
Times we spent together:
"You had to be there" moments of hilarity:
Sparkly, Skittle-fart reminders to be gee-golly positive:
Support we relied upon so heavily from both specific individuals and the ALI blogging community as a whole:
All that we held our breaths in prayer for:
When I think of Chance, I often find that my gaze turns to this jar. Now, long past February, the second cycle in May, and the subsequent conclusion of our surrogacy journey, we know that the story does not conclude with the happily ever after that we all hoped it would. The tale which surrounds the jar is melancholy, but within those glassy walls there is the essence of all joy we hoped to have.
Embossed along the top of the jar are the words Bonne Maman. In French, it means "good mother."